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Intersection Accidents

If you have ever driven through a city of any decent size, you already know that intersections can be dangerous places for drivers. Depending upon the amount of traffic and the number of lanes each intersecting street contains, certain intersections have reputations for being accident-prone areas. This is especially true of intersections that contain unusual traffic flow infrastructure, such as roundabouts, diverging diamonds, and displaced left turn lanes. In many cases, confusion over which driver has the right of way in intersections can cause accidents.

At Slappey and Sadd, we have extensive experience representing victims of car accidents, including those that occurred at intersections. If you suffered an injury in an intersection accident, it might be a good idea to have a professional look at your situation to apprise you of all of your options. Our attorneys have handled many cases of accidents just like yours and will work to reach a satisfactory resolution for you too.

Intersections are Frequent Locations for Accidents

Crashes are frequent occurrences at intersections because there are many points at which vehicles going in different directions can come into conflict with each other. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 40% of the estimated 5,811,000 crashes that occurred in the United States in 2008 were intersection-related crashes. Of those accidents, 7,421 were fatal crashes, while 733,000 crashes resulted in injury. The study also found that 96% of all intersection crashes were due to driver error, while less than 3% could be attributed to a vehicle or environment-related conditions.

The Most Common Causes of Intersection Accidents

Crashes that occur at intersections are a little bit different from other types of car accidents because most intersection accidents are due to right-of-way violations rather than speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, etc. Intersection crashes generally occur when there is confusion over whose turn it is to go at any given time. The NHTSA report referenced above gave several reasons why the studied intersection accidents occurred. Some of these reasons include:

  • Inadequate surveillance: Inadequate surveillance was the largest category of driver error that resulted in crashes, being responsible for 44.1%. Inadequate surveillance occurs when a driver makes a turn while failing to notice oncoming traffic.
  • False assumption of others' action: A false assumption of others' action accounted for 8.4% of the intersection-related accidents. This occurs when one driver assumes that another driver is going to take a certain action that they then do not take.
  • Turned with an obstructed view: Turning with an obstructed view accounted for 7.8% of all intersection-related accidents. This occurs when a driver turns without being able to see the whole filed of oncoming traffic.
  • Illegal maneuver: Illegal-turning maneuvers accounted for 6.8% of the crashes. Examples of illegal turning maneuvers include turning left at a red light, turning left in a no left turn intersection, using an inappropriate lane to turn such that other drivers are cut off, and turning right on red without first coming to a complete stop.
  • Internal distraction: Distracted driving accounted for 5.7% of the studied crashes, and includes behaviors such as texting, eating, applying makeup, or adjusting radio or temperature controls.
  • Misjudgment of the gap between cars or others' speed: Misjudging the speed of oncoming vehicles or the gap in space needed to turn accounted for 5.5% of all intersection-related crashes.
Types of Crashes that Can Occur in Intersections

"Intersection crashes" is a broad umbrella term that includes any accident that occurs at an intersection. As such, the term can be broken down into more specific types of accidents. Some of the most common accidents that occur at intersections include:

  • Sideswipe accidents: This is also known as a "T-bone accident." A sideswipe accident occurs when the front of one car hits the side of another car. These accidents are common in intersections because there are always at least two perpendicular flows of traffic at an intersection.
  • Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents occur when the front of one car hits the back of another. They can often happen at intersections if the intersection becomes backed up and a driver comes to a sudden stop in the middle of it.
  • Head-on collisions: A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of two cars crash into each other. These types of accidents can occur at intersections if a driver turns the wrong way onto a one-way street.
  • Pedestrian accidents: Intersections aren't just for vehicles; pedestrians use them too. One of the most common types of pedestrian intersection accidents occurs when a driver who is turning right only checks for oncoming traffic to their left and runs into a pedestrian who is crossing from the right side of their vehicle.
Liability for Intersection Accidents

Almost all intersection accidents are the result of right-of-way violations. When a right-of-way violation occurs, the reason for that violation often boils down to negligence. A driver acts negligently when he or she fails to act appropriately in preventing an accident. Examples of this kind of behavior that apply to intersection accidents include not looking to both the left and right when turning, turning left on red, turning left in a no left turn intersection, or turning right on red where prohibited. Any one of these poor driving behaviors can cause an accident and, if it does, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to hold the other driver liable on a theory of negligence.

Contact an Atlanta Intersection Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident that occurred at an intersection, you might be facing expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you believe that your accident was the result of another driver's negligence, then you may be able to bring a personal injury suit to recover your damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Fulton County, Cobb County, and DeKalb County.